An Article to Explain (and warn) your ‘tweens about eating disorders

How many magazines do you have on your bedside table? How many in your backpack? Okay, once you’ve done that homework, I need you to do a bit more investigation. Look at the covers. How many headlines promise to make you more beautiful? How about more popular? I bet at least two of them mention a “get-fit” plan or promise to tell you a little secret about which foods are good and bad for you.

One the surface, there’s nothing wrong with these magazines. The quizzes can be fun to take with a friend. And I’m the first to admit I’ve discovered some cute ways to style my hair. But underneath the glitter and glossy pages, did you know that your magazines are telling you little white lies?

Studies say that more than half of 13-year-old girls in the United States don’t like their bodies. And most admit that they get their ideas about health, fashion and what they should look like from magazines. The pictures of celebrities tell them what they should wear, what will make boys like them and how their bodies should look. But it’s scary what can happen to a girl when she chooses to believe these little lies about her appearance and her value.

When I was fourteen-years-old I began a long battle with anorexia. Never heard of it?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder. Someone with anorexia stops eating or severely limits what they eat. They might start to exercise too much and to other things to lose weight. And even when they lose too much weight and are dangerously skinny, they still believe they are too fat.

My battle with anorexia lasted more than 14 years. During that time, I lost a lot of friends who worried about me and didn’t know how to help me. My little sisters were scared that I was going to die. My parents cried and worried all the time because actually being too thin is even more dangerous than being a little too heavy.

My hair started to fall out. I grew lots of little-bitty, soft hairs all over my body. Because I didn’t have any body fat, my body was trying to stay warm. I cried a lot. When your mind doesn’t get enough nutrition, it doesn’t think clearly and many girls with anorexia get depressed, too. I fell asleep in school because my body didn’t have enough energy from food to stay awake. I even passed out a couple times, but I don’t remember it.

My family took really good care of me. When they understood how sick I was, they sent me to a hospital for eating disorders in Arizona. I spent three months there, away from my family and friends. I missed school and church; I even spent my 16th birthday at the hospital. Sometimes, I was so tired and scared and sad that I even wanted to die.

Getting well from anorexia often takes a really long time. It was hard for me to try to gain weight. I was scared that I might get too fat. In fact, even after I got well, I started to worry so much about being fat that I got sick again and had to return to the hospital when I was eighteen.

Jesus is the one who saved my life. Knowing how much He loves me is what gave me the courage to keep trying to get well and helped me make it through the loneliness when I was in the hospital. I read the Bible, not magazines, and learned what Jesus says about my beautiful body that He created.

In Genesis, God tells us that He made us in His own image. How can we not be perfectly wonderful if God made us to look like Him?

In Psalm 139, David writes that our bodies are marvelously made. And, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We belong to Him! We need to take care of out bodies the way God wants us to and not worry about the world’s ideas of perfect.

 

This article was first published in ‘Tween Girls and God.

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No More Trafficking

A sweet friend of mine, Esse Johnson, works valiantly and tirelessly to rescue women.

Here at Predatory Lies, we talk a lot about rescuing ourselves and our daughters from the lies of eating disorders and other cultural, relational and personal lies. This is one we haven’t talked about often, but Esse opened my eyes to the insidiousness of human trafficking. Friends, it’s not far from our doorsteps.

I encourage you to watch this video and pray fervently for Esse and others like her who are extending the love of Jesus to women mired in this terrifying world

“Trafficked No More”
Trailer
from Adrian Leon on Vimeo.

Insights from a Demon

In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I almost hesitate to write this post. But maybe it’s more appropriate than ever to question, “What is evil?”

They [humans] of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda. Uncle Screwtape from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

What causes us to revile death is the foreboding of the unknown. Let us rejoice that in Christ, even death is no mystery!

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Cor. 15:56-57

Another quick thought from Uncle Screwtape addresses something I hope dig into deeper later this year. This is the presence of beauty, the distinct fragrance of God’s love for us and His goodness toward all mankind, even in the most secular.

Even if we contrive to keep them ignorant of explicit religion, the incalculable winds of fantasy and music and poetry-the mere face of a girl, the song of a bird, or the sight of a horizon-are always blowing our whole structure away. They will not apply themselves steadily to worldly advancement, prudent connections, and the policy of safety first. So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to the earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or “science” or psychology, or what not. Real worldliness is a work of time-assisted, of course, by pride, for we teach them to describe the creeping death as good sense or Maturity or Experience.

“Let us set our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him…” Heb. 12:2

God has dripped Heaven into our atmosphere. Even on the ugliest of our days, the sun still stretches its fingers over the horizon. Even in the face of our enemy, is the astounding creativity of our Perfect Creator. Yes, Heaven is not far from us. But, let us not be willing to stay here forever either. The greatest JOY will be seeing Jesus face to face.

(Screwtape is the demon in C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters. The book is a collection of Screwtape’s advisory letters to his nephew, a young tempter.)

February in poetry

Snowflakes, fingerprints of heaven fall
A cross between drips of creamy milk and pin-sized shards of tinsel
Soft, liquid, hard and brittle
Till touching dirt, the life of manORGANIZERBLANK2012daveramseyfan
Where it melts and dies
Or, the lucky ones to fall on stream
And add their tiny life
To the rush over rocks, gentle bumps against bank
Now brown as blue, water and clay
Till lapped for refreshment
Then carried by wind, or carried by stream
Or born on critter’s paw

Launching into February, full steam ahead. I’m actually kind of sad to have finished a full month of One Word 2013, Naked. There’s so much more to say, so I will intersperse it with themes of coming months. For most of February, I will take a close look at C.S. Lewis’, The Screwtape Letters. 

A virtual monologue, it is a one-sided conversation between the head demon and his budding protege nephew. Lewis skillfully slices open the gray matter of deceit that divides absolute truth and lies. It is a microcosm of everything I wish to share here on Predatory Lies. Uncovering the lies that destroy our lives, so that we can live in the unfiltered light of truth.

Join me!

Naked in 2013

Welcome to 2013!

I have been bumbling this morning, trying to encapsulate everything I want to share with you. A chronic problem of mine, (I’ve had it since college) is that I don’t know how to procrastinate or to manage time. My only mode is NOW! If I have an agenda of things to share, I am hard pressed to place them on a timeline of 365 days.

I want to talk to you about nakedness. Nakedness in all its forms: Spiritually, “Who told you that you were naked?” That time-warping moment in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were first embarrassed at their unclothed image – that same image that they inherited from their Creator.
Nakedness now: How and why we still cringe and cover ourselves and our sins with anything we can find to avoid the shame of exposing our essences, the good and evil.
The nakedness that is uncensored in the month of January. With New Year’s resolutions on everyone’s minds, we are suddenly exposed to the “perfect” nakedness that we are encouraged to aspire to. Even as I sat down to write to you, I passed seven magazines with prominent displays of nearly naked beauties. All of them declare in bold, 46 pt. font, “Your Best Body Now!” Ironically, stacked on top of several of these magazines was an issue of Life magazine simply titled, “Jesus,” the Creator of our nakedness. And another lay nearby, “The Self-Esteem Companion.”

This topic will inevitably lead to discussion about the lies we believe concerning our bodies. You know my personal story, a vicious battle with anorexia for 18 years. I almost consider myself an expert on body image lies. With the helpful resource Finding Balance, I will continue to help you find the truth about your intrinsic, and yes, Naked worth.

Our primary focus at Predatory Lies is to expose the lies that destroy women’s lives and  replace those lives with life-giving truth. Recently, I was lucky to see a play rendition of The Screwtape Letters. This is C.S. Lewis’ imaginative dialogue between a head demon and his protege. The entire conversation is a pack of lies, through which the truth becomes glaringly, even sarcastically obvious. This is the perfect tool to exploit here at Predatory Lies! So I expect to do a slow, personal and applicable review of this book in the coming months.

It’s a start. I will continue to share with you the things I am learning about and sharing with Haven Journal, She Loves Magazine, Finding Balance and Start Marriage Right. 

May I pray for you?

Jesus. It’s strange to pray for people I feel as if I know personally and yet whose faces I have never seen. It’s strange for a feeble mind to understand that each person I hear, see or touch is a SOUL. There is nothing impersonal about them to you. I ask you Jesus to give me a clearer understanding of the value, eternal quality, Christ-image of each person – those I know and love and those I don’t. Father, I seek your slowness, your peace, your patience, your passion, you compassion, your HEART.

Jesus, more than anything, I want each of those who read this blog to hear YOU. I want your voice, the voice of truth to be louder, more gently compelling than anything I have to say.

Jesus, you are beautiful. May these key strokes inscribe your matchless worth on the pages of lives connected only by digital conversation. May no one who reads this blog escape the truth that they are reconciled to God by Jesus. Their only small step into immediate eternal life to believe in Jesus, your Son.

In Jesus Name, your daughter

Welcome September!

Believe it or not, here we are again – on the precipice of a new month. Actually, we just slipped over the edge a few days ago and find ourselves screaming through the final days of summer.

Fall isn’t so much a season in its own right as a transition with a name. I love that murky line between steamy days and crispy nights. I love the lingering green and encroaching brown. I love the refreshing promise fall holds. I love darker evenings, shorter days and first frosts. But change can leave you wondering what you missed in the moments that will never replay.

Did you play hard enough, rest long enough, spend plenty of time in the sun?

Courtesy of: http://boisdejasmin.com/2009/10

Did you finish house projects, take a father-daughter camping trip, lose the weight?
Did you do that Bible study, read your stack of books, visit your long-distance relatives?

If you didn’t “do it all” this summer, don’t despair. I sure didn’t scratch the surface of the privileges of pain, the potential of words, or the pleasure of poetry. So I’m going to keep going straight through September! Peering inquisitively into my pain, harnessing the power of my words and sometimes reigning in my tongue have been great lessons for me. They are broad brushes that color nearly every aspect of human life, leaving me with boundless questions and  an entire cannon of Scripture to ply for answers.

In honor of fall’s stealthy approach, I will change a few tiny things this month – like the first leaves to turn before cascading to the ground. On Mondays we will continue to look at the Privilege of Pain. I have a whole new perspective to consider – a medical application.

We will still celebrate Wordy Wednesdays. Ponder with me tough words like addiction. Wonder what’s in a name. Try to share Jesus without words. 

Friday will offer a little variety. I’ve been devouring a wonderful book called “In the Land of Blue Burqas,” by Kate McCord. In fact, it has fueled much of my thoughts on pain and how we use our language. I am honored to review various books for Moody Publishers, so on one particular Friday, I will entice  you to read this book.

Not that my opinion is to be over valued, but I want to share with you my thoughts on a couple other ministries and resources of truth as well. Truth is the only vaccine against or treatment for the Predatory Lies of this fallen world. And doubtless, my journal will be peppered with poetry prayers in September. I hope you don’t mind if I share them.

So there you have it! Happy September!

July

I bet you didn’t know that July is National Blueberry Month. I didn’t either. However, I think it’s an excellent reason to share some blueberry recipes with you this month. It’s really a stretch to relate blueberries to the lies that hungrily prey on our lives, or the life-giving truth of Jesus Christ, but, I can do it!

For years, at this point, nearly half of my life, food was my enemy. If you’ve read this blog with an regularity, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my story. This blog began there, with a heart to share the truth about God’s good gifts of food, freedom, healthy bodies and a mind singularly devoted to Christ. So now it is my pleasure to share with you the joy I am finding in deliciousness. So, this is a celebration of my truth!

True? I mentioned Privileged Pain once last week. Do you believe in such a thing? Individuals who have everything they could possibly want, every privilege, are often mired deeply in pain. They look “fine.” I’ve certainly been there. I’ve lived a picture-perfect life, but pain hasn’t spared me. Is there a privilege to suffering pain? Biblically there is. We’ll take a look at this on Wednesdays in July.

And Friday. I’ve been a little slow in getting through a book that I am reviewing for Moody Publishers. I began reading Christ’s Prophetic Plans  because I wanted to read the dissenting opinion. Oddly enough, it was my opinion for most of my life and it is still the opinion of the majority of the body of Christ. We are talking about dispensationalism. I won’t provide a definition here, because that’s what the book is about, providing a definition and defense of the tenets of this eschatological belief system. I’m dying to hear your opinions.

So, I’ll see you in the sunny, summer month of July! Looking forward to it!

Day One Review of “How Satan’s Soldier Became God’s Warrior”

If God created everything, then He created evil. So, by that line of reasoning, I decided that God was responsible for evil, controlled it, and was in fact, both good and evil. He had to be responsible for the tragedy that was my life. And if He was responsible for all the suffering in my life, how could He possibly care about me? Since God didn’t care for me, I might as well serve His enemy. If God didn’t think I was good enough to save, why shouldn’t I serve His evil counter part? This evil counterpart is Satan, the god of this world. In my crippled thinking, I viewed Satan as God’s alter ego.

By the time you read that paragraph you’ve started Chapter 2 in Michael Leehan’s book How Satan’s Soldier Became God’s Warrior.  Pretty intense. I picked up this book after hearing Leehan interviewed by Janet Parshall. I confess, the sensationalism of Satanism was the driving force behind my interest in the book. That and the fact that what is a more appropriate topic for a blog about Predatory Lies, than a book that shows God’s defeat of the Father of Lies?

I expected a gripping story; and I wasn’t disappointed. However, I didn’t really expect to address the problem of pain and God’s role in human suffering. I didn’t think about how many decisions Leehan made prior to his final decision to serve Satan. There were tiny steps along the way that seemed harmless enough and unrelated. Things that culturally we might recognize as poor choices, but hardly map them into a progression toward the ultimate rebellion against God.

In truth, is there an “ultimate” rebellion, or is sin simply sin and separation from God simply separation from God? How different are you and I from Leehan in his darkest moments?

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.          Eph. 5:15-16

Another thing that piqued my interest in Leehan’s book is that he is “close to home” for me. Leehan’s story takes place mostly in Oklahoma. The church body that reached out to Leehan even as he plotted to murder their pator – is in my home town! So, let me also take this moment to put in a plug for Lifechurch.tv.  There’s a reason that the pastor, Craig Groschel, was on Satan’s hit list. Lifechurch.tv as well as the mobile phone app, YouVersion and their many other FREE resources are unparalleled.

 

 

Innocent Little Lies, For a Good Cause

The story you are about to read is true… some details have been changed to confuse the victim.

I’ve learned a lot from my sisters. The Bible says that a brother is born for adversity. We certainly taught each other lessons the hard way. Tears and tantrums, practical jokes and cold shoulders – oh and the silent treatment. Fortunately, as we’ve grown, we still learn from each other, but with less fanfare.

Such was the case a couple weeks ago. Kelsey, my third sister, is highly practical. She manages money with frugality. To be honest, she and I both border on miserly – or are at least incredibly fearful of financial issues. So we tend to be overly cautious and fretful especially in these economic times. Funny too, since both of our husbands are blessedly employed, happy in their jobs with no eminent threats. Ah, but fear is rarely rational.

We are planning an event together. When I was in Texas visiting her recently, we decided to make a trip to the planned location to scope it out. When we arrived, our chintzy instincts went to high gear.  Nickel and dime-ing was an understatement! Even as a resident of D.C., one of the most expensive places to live, I was shocked. Parking was a fee, valets were extra, of course reservations cost, then add on a separate “resort fee” and another per-car charge and by the way – no discounts. Even my military discount was denied, as they insisted that the active duty soldier must be present.

The place itself was spectacular! We must have looked like back-woods hicks, traipsing through with our eyes bugged out and tennis shoes squeaking on the polished floors. We drove away, called and made our reservations (they don’t have a place to make reservations in person). I was dogmatic that this place was so exceptional, we had to have it, but just as dogmatic that I didn’t want to go broke on a one night event. For the rest of the day we schemed up ways to get the military discount we felt we deserved. What innocent (is there such a thing?) little white lie could we tell so that we could sneak in under their up-turned noses?

A few days later, I was home again and planning to call the uppity reservation line again. I had devised a small fib that would hopefully get us around their red tape and rules. Quickly, I called Kelsey and told her my plan.

“Um, I’ve been thinking,” she began. “We’re studying holiness together on Wednesday nights. And I just can’t get beyond the conviction that lying to them to save a few dollars isn’t very holy or Christ-like. I think we should just be completely honest, ask again, and see what they say.”

Nothing like being put in your place by your little sister! It feels good, I promise. I’m so proud of her!

So, I hung up with Kelsey and dialed the huffy operator. Much to my surprise a very friendly Diane answered the phone this time. I carefully, politely explained the situation one more time. I told her why we wanted the reservation and how surprised I was that my military ID was worthless for the appropriate discount. I have never had this problem anywhere before. Diane was as surprised as I was!

“I don’t know why the operator didn’t understand,” Diane apologized. “Of course I’ll take care of that, email you the confirmation of the new discounted rate, and I’ll make sure that Kristen knows the policy.”

I hung up the phone and danced through the kitchen!

“Kelsey! Guess what,” I had to call her back. “The lady I spoke to said that we deserved the discount. She apologized and adjusted the rate!”

What a good God. He truly honors obedience. And as God’s children we have no choice but to be honest and imitate the one who calls Himself, “The Truth.”